Spirit-Breakers, before the deluge

Concentrating on soccer was rather difficult this afternoon. When we weren’t checking updates on Charlottesville, we were checking the weather. A couple of minutes after the final whistle, the SoccerPlex lightning-detection system kicked into gear, and we all had a wet drive home.

But the game deserves some mention, even if it was basically a showdown between two teams battling for eighth place in a 10-team league. It ended 2-2, which won’t propel either team to seventh place, let alone a playoff berth that’s surely unattainable by this point.

Even with only one team below them in the standings, I’d argue both teams have overachieved this season. They’re both young teams, and between them, their injury lists nearly comprise a strong starting 11. But today, the Spirit played inspired soccer in stretches, while the Breakers showed plenty of resilience.

Boston coach Matt Beard wasn’t quite pleased, though — at least, as far as we could tell while conducting interviews in a gym where several youth basketball games were in progress. (As Lloyd Yaxley once put it: Why would someone invent such a noisy game?) Beard’s view: Goalkeeper Abby Smith had a terrific performance, the team took advantage of its opportunities to score two goals, and the Breakers turned the ball over far too often.

Washington coach Jim Gabarra was also unhappy, though in his case, it was his ongoing concern that referees simply aren’t calling enough fouls to protect players. He had a point, in this game and through the season, though Breakers fans may rightly wonder why Caprice Dydasco wiped out Tiffany Weimer twice in the opening minutes. Maybe the Millennials really want anyone over 30 to disappear?

(The ref gave Dydasco a few stern words, which apparently helped. But other players are a little less receptive to the “Hi, could you please stop running over your opponent?” school of officiating.)

Other than that, it’s hard to draw any long-term conclusions from this game. I’d wanted to see if the Spirit’s youth movement was for real, but their younger attackers were a bit erratic today after a busy stretch of games. They were more dangerous when Cheyna Williams came in, and that’s not the first time I’ve said that this season.

I can’t judge the Breakers’ youth movement as long as Rose Lavelle is out. They’re a different team without her.

But both teams have a lot of potential to be better next season. Neither team has had much luck with injuries, and the Spirit could certainly feel they deserved better today.

And it was certainly entertaining. Best of all, they managed to squeeze in the whole game before the storms hit. We were told Lifetime would cut to a movie if the game was scrubbed, and the world doesn’t need that. Seeing a bunch of young athletes with skill and potential was a lot better than that, and it was a nice diversion on a day in which we really needed it.

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Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

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